Abortion debate must be conducted with dignity
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has more reason than most to be wary of taking on the issue of abortion. His party lost five TDs and two senators - including the then minister Lucinda Creighton - in 2013 when they defied a party whip to vote against the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill. The Bill allows abortion in limited circumstances. But pressure from Labour and some of his own key lieutenants has forced him into setting up a commission to examine the question.
Fine Gael members will then have a free vote. Fianna Fáil has followed suit by confirming that the party's TDs and senators will also be allowed to vote with their consciences on any repeal of the Eighth Amendment.
This gives equal protection to the life of the mother and her unborn child and is seen as preventing abortion in the case of fatal foetal abnormalities.